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News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

You can’t hide from your demons ~ True Blood 2.1/2

Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica

Deborah Ann Woll as Jessica

Vampires are in vogue right now, so it’s little surprise that season 2 of True Blood is making a splash. And deservedly so. I’d forgotten quite how addictive and funny Alan Ball’s series is, but the first two episodes of the season quickly reminded me, delivering the show’s characteristic mix of (very dark) humour, horror, romance and social commentary.

For those unfamiliar with the concept,’ True Blood’ refers to the synthetic blood drink that has allowed vampires to ‘come out of the coffin’ and live amongst humans openly. The inhabitants of the sleepy Louisiana town of Bon Temps find themselves confronted with this change when Bill (a former Civil War gentleman and vampire) arrives, particularly catching the eye of Sookie Stackhouse, a young waitress with some interesting supernatural powers of her own. The Southern US setting is perfect, with its racial and religious tensions as well as its long hot nights forming a brilliant backdrop for the unfolding drama.

(spoilers for s1 and s2 so far follow)

Season 2 so far has confirmed to me that, whilst Anna Paquin’s Sookie and Stephen Moyer’s Bill are nominally the central characters, it is the supporting cast that truly steal the show. Nelsan Ellis’ Lafayette was a joy in season 1, and I am extremely pleased that Ball has deviated from Charlaine Harris’ original canon to give the character an extended storyline. Whoever decided to bring Lafayette and Eric together needs congratulating, because Alexander Skarsgard’s hulking Viking vampire is another secondary character who lights up the screen. So far Lafayette’s storyline has brought the most sickening horror of the season so far (fishing a hip implant out of his dead dungeon mate’s leg…gross), a moment that built on a rather throwaway punchline from episode one (‘my ass is magnetic now!’) – and a move that showcases the excellence of the writing.

I am fast becoming a big fan of Michelle Forbes (whose turn as the murderous Cain in Battlestar Galactica was memorably excellent), and her storyline as the sinister Mary Ann has me gripped. Rutina Wesley’s Tara is another secondary character who captured me in s1 and I await the development of her plotline with bated breath.

Jason’s ‘Fellowship of the Sun’ plot looks like it has real potential, and so far I have enjoyed the skewering of evangelical Christianity in its most poisonous form. Like many of its sibling vampire stories, True Blood works hard to show that both humans and monsters can be…well…monstrous. The commercialisation of hatred, as practised by the flesh crawlingly saccharine Newlins, is surely only the tip of the iceberg – I look forward to seeing more of the corruption that is undoubtedly at the core of this dubious organisation. The only drawback to this plot is one that I identified at the end of the last season – Jason’s motivation is a little hard to understand, especially given his attachment to Eddie.

By comparison, Sookie and Bill are rather boring to me at the moment. Anna Paquin is probably the weak link, acting wise – perhaps because she is saddled with a character who comes across as naive and stupid on most occasions and whose emotional state changes like the weather. Hopefully things will improve as the couple are drawn into the others’ plotlines. Deborah Ann Woll’s Jessica is an amusing addition to the cast and provided great light relief in episode one in her sulky interactions with Bill. However, I’m not sure how long the ‘family’ situation can be kept interesting.

True Blood is not the best show ever. It can be cheesy, over the top and vaguely ridiculous. It’s also hard to explain to others why it’s so addictive. I can’t really answer that, but the fact is that I’m desperate to see the next episode and it’s only been a day since I saw the last one!

Best line: ‘why’d you break that American flag like some Muslim Buffy with a dick?!’


2 Responses to “You can’t hide from your demons ~ True Blood 2.1/2”

  1. I normally do not leave comments but I like this show soo much! I bookmarked this post on reddit!

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